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Evolution of Oceanic Near-Surface Stratification in Response to an Autumn Storm
Natasha S. Lucas, Alan L. M. Grant, Tom P. Rippeth, Jeff A. Polton, Matthew R. Palmer, Liam Brannigan, Stephen E. Belcher
- Journal of Physical Oceanography, November 2019, American Meteorological Society
- DOI: 10.1175/jpo-d-19-0007.1
What is it about?
Why are we interested in the surface of the ocean? The surface of the ocean is the interface between the ocean interior and atmosphere. Heat, gases and momentum are exchanged at this boundary, this has implications on weather and climate.
How did we measure it?
We went out to the North Atlantic, off the continental shelf, in September 2012 for a month. We deployed an Ocean Microstructure Glider (yup, known as OMG!!). This instrument is pretty new and pretty special!
Dr. Wihsgott receiving training from Rockland Field Technician Evan Cervelli at the NOC Marine Robotics Innovation Centre.
SOUTHAMPTON, UK, April 09, 2019 – Rockland Scientific has been contracted to supply three VMP-6000 profilers to NOC Southampton (UK), the University of Tokyo (Japan) and the University of Bergen (Norway). The demand for such instrumentation highlights the increasing importance of deep-sea turbulence observations. Two VMP-6000s have already been delivered, while the third profiler will be shipped to Norway in May.
The VMP-6000 is a robotic, full ocean-depth (6000m) profiling system for measurement of turbulence microstructure, CTD, and other oceanographic parameters. The unique capability of the VMP-6000 to measure the smallest turbulence signals in the abyssal oceans provides the researchers at these institutions with a tool to study deep-ocean dynamics and mixing, and their connection with larger scale processes such as climate change.
Once delivered, the VMP-6000s will augment an existing suite of turbulence measurement instrumentation at these institutions, including coastal profilers and modular sensor packages integrated with ocean gliders and AUVs.
About Rockland Scientific: Rockland is dedicated to the measurement of turbulence in oceans, rivers, lakes and laboratories. Their measurement systems comprise of ship-board profilers as well as modular sensor payloads for deployment from gliders, floats, and moorings. They accurately detect turbulence levels, from the most energetic tidal channel down to the deep ocean.
About the National Oceanography Centre: NOC engages in research covering a range of oceanographic disciplines to further understand the complex nature of the ocean. One such research area is the study of marine physics and ocean climate, which focuses on the fundamental physical processes in the marine environment and their connection with, and influence on, the rest of the Earth system. This research spans microscopic to global scales, extends from the coast to the abyssal ocean, and includes boundary layer interactions with both the atmosphere and the seabed.
The Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (AORI) was established in the University of Tokyo by a merger of the Ocean Research Institute and the Center Of Climate System Research in 2010. The Ocean Circulation Section is engaged in physical research based mainly on observations by research vessels in order to reveal various phenomena in the ocean, including deep ocean circulation and mixing.
About University of Bergen, Geophysical Institute (GFI): GFI is a leading institute in the Nordic countries in the field of observational oceanography. The institute’s research strategy rests upon use of cutting-edge measurement techniques in combination with theoretical studies and modelling. Studies on key ocean processes and their interactions encompass spatial scales from millimetre scales, relevant for ice freezing, turbulence and mixing, up to the large scale ocean circulation.
Dr. Jørgen Bendtsen, ClimateLab Denmark., Professor Katherine Richardson, Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen.
Deployment of the VMP-250 from the R/V Dana in the North Sea, July 2016. The instrument is deployed ~5 m from the free-drifting ship, and after it has been lowered to the surface the line is released and it sinks freely through the water column.
The ClimateLab and University of Copenhagen purchased a VMP-250 coastal turbulence profiler and Jørgen attended instrument training at Rockland Scientific in June 2016. Shortly after, Jørgen used the instrument as part of a nutrient flux study in the North Sea. The ClimateLab and U Copenhagen team collected turbulence data from the VMP-250 and analyzed the potential for vertical mixing, which can transport nutrients, such as nitrate, which support primary production throughout the column. The findings were published last month in the paper Turbulence measurements suggest high rates of new production over the shelf edge in the northeastern North Sea during the summer in the Biogeosiences Journal.
The key finding of this research paper was based on measurements taken in the northeastern North Sea. During the stratified summer season a deep chlorophyll maximum was found at the bottom of the nutrient depleted surface layer (~20 m). Observations with the VMP-250 along transects across the shelf edge towards the deep northern North Sea (>500 m) showed enhanced vertical mixing at the bottom of the nutricline above the shelf edge. Diapycnal turbulent nitrate fluxes were estimated from turbulence measurements and nutrient samples and showed enhanced new production above the shelf edge area. Overall, this suggests that the shelf-edge zone may be the major nutrient supplier to the euphotic zone in this area during the period of summer stratification.
These findings will have impacts on fisheries, aquaculture, and ecological conservation efforts and policy. Dr. Bendtsen and Professor Richardson’s success with the VMP-250 has resulted in some additional funding to add a fluorometer/turbidity sensor to their VMP-250 instrument. This is good news for Rockland and their customer base as Jørgen is well positioned to perform novel science with high resolution measurements of chlorophyll-a and turbidity taken very close to the shear probes.
“UKZN’s Department of Civil Engineering held the first ever workshop on Ocean Turbulence in South Africa.
The workshop was facilitated by Derek Stretch, Professor for Environmental Fluid Mechanics, with funding provided through an Office of Naval Research (ONR) global grant.
Turbulence at microstructure scales (a centimetre or less) is an important mechanism for mixing in the ocean where regions of enhanced turbulence can influence the entire marine food web. Turbulence is, however, difficult to measure and requires very sensitive and specialised equipment and highly skilled scientists to process and interpret the data.” Read More
London, UK, March 13, 2018 – Rockland and Alseamar are proud to show the results of their recent partnership. At the previous OI 2016, both companies agreed on a joint R&D program to develop a turbulence sensor payload for the Alseamar SeaExplorer glider. The first customer conducted successful deployments with the sensor payload, the MicroRider-SE, on the SeaExplorer in June and winter of 2017. At OI 2018, a demonstration model of glider and sensor payload will be on display at the Alseamar stand.
In June 2017, a research team from the Atmosphere & Ocean Research Institute (AORI) of the University of Tokyo successfully deployed a SeaExplorer in the Kuroshio current, collecting microstructure turbulence data, amongst other parameters. The SeaExplorer was able to smoothly navigate in one of the strongest current on Earth, with surface velocities sometimes up to four knots, with a large sensor payload. In addition to the flight dynamics, the one litre buoyancy engine of the SeaExplorer proved helpful when facing strong density gradients.
AORI’s SeaExplorer is fitted with the MicroRider-SE payload (for turbulence), a Nortek Signature ADCP (for currents), a WetLabs Triplet (for Chlorophyll-a, Turbidity and CDOM), as well as a CT sensor and a Rinko optical DO sensor (from JFE Advantech, for temperature, salinity and oxygen).
Major innovations for the SeaExplorer MicroRider-SE turbulence package are the low footprint integration of the microstructure probes in the front nose cone of the glider and the addition of an EM current sensor (velocimeter) to directly measure the axial speed of the glider.
Data collected are now being processed by AORI team with ROCKLAND support, and are part of a wider study on turbulent mixing generated by the Kuroshio current.
The nation’s favourite yellow submarine swam under a near-600m thick ice shelf in the Antarctic, returning safely to its launch ship after 48 hours away.
It was an important test for the novel autonomous vehicle, which was developed at the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
Boaty’s handlers now plan even more arduous expeditions for the sub in the years ahead. Read More